As if to reiterate the importance of mental health some more, a recent study has revealed that there could be a higher risk of behavioural issues and poor development in babies whose mothers suffer from long-term depression.
Led by the University of Queensland, the research was conducted on some 892 mothers, whose depression levels were analysed, along with the development and behaviour of 978 children. The university used the data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, published in the Journal of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.
Maternal depression before, during and after pregnancy were compared, and it was found that the duration was more important than the timing. The study found that one in five women experienced depression once, but for 11 per cent, the experience was a recurring one. And that the longer a mother suffered from maternal depression, the worse was the outcome for the child.
The study also noted that while the mothers worried that if they are depressed during pregnancy, then it is too late to do anything about it, but reducing the symptoms at any stage is better for them and their child, than not doing anything at all.
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Researchers said that the earlier the detection, the better is the outcome and treatment of maternal depression. In fact, it was suggested that screening for depression could start when couples begin to plan the pregnancy. And it can continue through the perinatal period and early childhood of the child.
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